France

Punching Parra cleared to play

Thu, 31 Oct 2013 20:21
Morgan-parra-france-passes
The squad will be trimmed on Tuesday
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Scrumhalf Morgan Parra will be available to face New Zealand in France's opening November Test after his ban for violent play was reduced from four to two weeks on Thursday.

The Clermont player was suspended for having punched Bordeaux-Begles's Gautier Gibouin several times during a Top 14 league match on September 29.

The decision to cut his suspension will come as welcome news to France coach Philippe Saint-Andre after he lost the services of another key scrumhalf, Maxime Machenaud, to injury.

Parra, who is free to play from Thursday, was a member of the France side that lost 8-7 to the All Blacks in the 2011 World Cup final.

France play New Zealand in Paris on November 9 before heading to Le Havre to play Tonga a week later and returning to the capital to round off their tests against South Africa on November 23.

Parra's appearance in the 30-man squad meant that Toulon star Frederic Michalak was only named on a reserve list of six as Saint-Andre kept his options open with Toulouse and Racing Metro due to play a friendly in Hong Kong on the same day as the New Zealand clash.

Toulon star Michalak, 31, only returned to action following a dislocated shoulder at the beginning of October but played 50 minutes against Toulouse on Saturday.

Back row forwards Louis Picamoles and Fulgence Ouedraogo, who are both injured, did not feature in the squad.

Toulouse player Picamoles, capped 38 times, suffered a hip injury in last weekend's clash against Toulon while Ouedraogo has been troubled by a shoulder injury.

Antonie Claassen, with four caps, and Wenceslas Lauret, who has played three internationals, were named in the squad instead.

The 30-man squad will be trimmed to 26 by Tuesday.

French squad:

Forwards: Vincent Debaty, Yannick Forestier, Benjamin Kayser, Dimitri Szarzewski, Nicolas Mas, Rabah Slimani, Alexandre Flanquart, Yoann Maestri, Pascal Pape, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Thierry Dusautoir (captain), Bernard Le Roux, Yannick Nyanga, Wenceslas Lauret, Damian Chouly, Antonie Claassen.

Backs: Jean-Marc Doussain, Jonathan Plisse, Morgan Parra, Camille Lopez, Remi Tals, Mathieu Bastareaud, Gael Fickou, Wesley Fofana, Florian Fritz, Maxime Mermoz, Maxime Medard, Sofiane Guitoune, Brice Dulin, Yoann Huget.

AFP

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